Tuesday, June 19, 2012
By Paul Newman
When Chris Gayle was lifting England’s bowlers effortlessly beyond the Kia Oval’s boundaries, it was possible to believe West Indies were at last poised for their first win of this tour. Normal service, however, was quickly resumed.
Gayle cleared the ropes five times on his first West Indies appearance in over a year, but once he had been dismissed controversially England were on their way to a comprehensive victory, another Alastair Cook century clinching this NatWest series with one of the three games still to play.
This was the day when cricket was put into perspective by the death of Tom Maynard, a subdued atmosphere at his home ground reflecting the shock still felt by the manner and timing of the Surrey batsman’s passing.
A minute’s silence was observed, a condolences book opened and a memorial to one of the country’s best young batsmen set up on a bench outside the pavilion before the show had to go on.
Cook said: ‘It’s been a tough 36 hours for the team. Obviously it was incredibly sad news, and a few of the boys were very emotional, especially at the minute’s silence.
‘He was a great lad and he’ll be greatly missed. Quite a few of the guys played cricket with Tom. It puts cricket into perspective.
‘But on the cricket front, we came out straight away and set the tone.’
If England had little choice other than to get back to business after such a tragedy, the best way to do so was to win their sixth successive home one-day series.
That was in doubt while Gayle, having made his peace with West Indies’ board and shaken off a shin injury, was wreaking havoc.
Once he had hit Steven Finn for three successive fours, the biggest hitter in world cricket was off and running, his powerful, minimalist style perfectly demonstrated in Tim Bresnan’s first over.
Back with a bang! Gayle returned for the Windies but was out just after making a rapid 50
Posted by Nitu at 23:50